Beau Geste fails in Isle of Wight record attempt

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The Independent Online

By just two minutes and 13 seconds, the Hong Kong-based 80-footer Beau Geste failed to beat the existing Round the Island record of 3 hours 56min 03sec yesterday as the big boys came out to play in Cowes Week.

Skippered by Gavin Brady and with Francesco de Angelis as tactician, the Bruce Farr design, which is also limbering up for Sunday's Rolex Fastnet Race, had nearly ideal southerly winds but could not snatch the record set by Mike Slade's Leopard, which is 20 feet longer. Handicap winner was Patrizio Bertelli's new STP65 Luna Rossa, with Torben Grael joining Flavio Favini in the brains trust.

But still unbeaten is Charles Dunstone's 52-foot Rio, which added the Britannia Cup to three previous class one wins. Slipping from second to seventh was another 52-footer, Pace, entered by Johnny Vincent. On an eastern Solent course he came to a grinding halt when the spinnaker was lost over the side and wrapped itself round the propeller.

The swimming job went to Aussie bowman Damian Duke, who doesn't like that name. "I prefer Shredder" he said, adding that he was in the water less than two minutes.

At least Pace picked up the spirit of what had been designated Ladies' Day, with Sarah Rollason, Faraday Rosenberg and Emma Vincent adding to the effort and there will be top women sailors aplenty today when the likes of Sam Davies, Ellen MacArthur, Dee Caffari and Miranda Merron join a fleet of nine Open 60s for the Artemis Trophy. Their progress may be slower round the island as lighter winds are forecast.

Surprise leader of Black Group overall is a Sunsail 37, The Listening Company, entered by John Greenwood and skippered by Neville Upton.